how long to defrost chicken in the microwave

How Long Does Does It Take To Defrost Chicken In The Microwave?

We’ve all been there – forgetting to take out the frozen chicken to thaw overnight in the fridge. But fear not! There’s a quick and convenient solution: the microwave. But, how long to defrost chicken in the microwave?

In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of defrosting chicken in the microwave. From the step-by-step process to safety considerations, cooking guidelines, and helpful tips, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to know to defrost chicken quickly and safely. Let’s dive in!

How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

How to Defrost Chicken in the Microwave

Defrosting chicken in the microwave is a simple process that requires some care to ensure optimal results. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

  1. Remove chicken from its original packaging: Take the frozen chicken out of its original packaging and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Discarding the packaging is important as it may not be suitable for use in the microwave.
  2. Set the microwave to the defrost setting or 30% power level: Adjust the microwave settings to the appropriate defrosting option. If your microwave doesn’t have a specific defrost button, you can manually set it to 30% power level.
  3. Defrost for 2 minutes per pound: The general guideline for defrosting chicken in the microwave is 2 minutes per pound. However, keep in mind that the defrosting time may vary depending on factors such as the wattage of your microwave, the thickness of the chicken, and the number of pieces being defrosted. Monitor the chicken closely and continue defrosting until it is fully thawed.
  4. Check for doneness: It’s crucial to check the doneness of the chicken during the defrosting process. Make sure there are no frozen spots in the center. If the center is slightly frozen, continue defrosting in 30-second increments until the chicken is completely thawed.

Safety Concerns and Guidelines

When defrosting chicken in the microwave, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Monitor the defrosting process: Pay close attention to the chicken as it thaws in the microwave. Avoid using the wrong settings or overextending the defrosting time, as this can compromise the quality of the chicken.
  2. Immediate cooking after thawing: Once the chicken is fully defrosted, it should be cooked immediately to minimize the risk of bacterial growth. Raw chicken is a perishable food that is prone to the rapid multiplication of foodborne bacteria. According to USDA guidelines, raw poultry should be cooked or stored under refrigeration within 2 hours.

Need to Defrost Chicken Before Cooking

Need to Defrost Chicken Before Cooking

Defrosting chicken before cooking is essential to ensure even cooking throughout the meat. Here’s why:

  1. Even cooking: If frozen chicken is not fully defrosted before cooking, the center may remain raw while the outside edges become overcooked. Thawing the chicken beforehand allows for more consistent and even cooking.
  2. Thawing methods: There are several methods for defrosting chicken, including cold water thawing, overnight thawing in the fridge, and using the microwave. Each method has its advantages, but the microwave offers the quickest option when time is of the essence.

When cooking defrosted chicken, it’s important to adhere to cooking requirements and temperature guidelines. Poultry must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered safe for consumption. This temperature ensures that any harmful bacteria present in the chicken are eliminated.

How Long To Defrost Chicken In The Microwave

How Long To Defrost Chicken

The time required to defrost chicken in the microwave can vary depending on various factors. While the general guideline is 2 minutes per pound, other considerations come into play:

  1. Microwave wattage: The wattage of your microwave will influence the defrosting time. Higher wattage microwaves tend to defrost faster, while lower wattage microwaves may require slightly longer defrosting times.
  2. Thickness and number of pieces: Thicker pieces of chicken or a larger number of pieces will require more time to defrost thoroughly. Adjust the defrosting time accordingly, ensuring that each piece is fully thawed.
  3. Flipping and rotating: To expedite the defrosting process and promote even thawing, it’s advisable to flip the chicken pieces and rotate the plate halfway through the defrosting time. This helps to avoid hotspots and ensures consistent thawing.

Precautions and Microwave Tips

Here are some additional tips to defrost chicken effectively and safely in the microwave:

  1. Follow manufacturer instructions: Every microwave has different settings and features. To achieve the best results, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for defrosting chicken.
  2. Avoid overextending defrosting time: Be cautious not to overextend the defrosting time, as this can lead to the chicken drying out. Regularly check the progress and adjust the time accordingly.
  3. Collect drippings: Place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate to collect the juices that may drip from the meat as it thaws. Glass or ceramic dishes are suitable options for microwave use.
  4. Monitor doneness and rotate the meat: Keep an eye on the chicken as it defrosts, checking for doneness and ensuring even thawing. Rotate and separate any pieces that loosen up to avoid overcooked hotspots.

Tips for Defrosting Chicken in the Microwave

Tips for Defrosting Chicken in the Microwave

For the best results when defrosting chicken in the microwave, consider the following tips:

  1. Follow package guidelines: Read and follow any specific defrosting instructions provided on the packaging of the chicken. Manufacturers may have tailored guidelines for their products.
  2. Use a microwave-safe bowl: If you’re defrosting whole pieces of frozen chicken, opt for a microwave-safe bowl instead of a plate. This will help contain any liquids and prevent them from spilling.
  3. Regularly check for doneness: Check the chicken’s doneness at regular intervals to ensure it is thoroughly defrosted. Adjust the defrosting time as needed.
  4. Avoid refreezing defrosted chicken: To maintain food safety, it is recommended to cook the defrosted chicken immediately instead of refreezing it. Refreezing can compromise the quality and increase the risk of bacterial growth.


Defrosting chicken in the microwave is a convenient and time-saving method when you’re short on time. By following the simple steps outlined above and adhering to safety guidelines, you can safely and effectively defrost chicken in just a few minutes.

Remember to monitor the process, check for doneness, and cook the chicken immediately after thawing to minimize the risk of bacterial growth. With these tips in mind, you’ll have perfectly thawed chicken ready for your favorite recipes in no time. Happy cooking!






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